The Ministry of Labour continues to be in the vanguard in its fight against HIV/AIDS and other non-communicable diseases, particularly as it relates to stigmatisation and discrimination.

To this end, Government has approved the introduction of a HIV/AIDS and Non-Communicable Diseases Policy and Code of Practice for the public sector.

Minister of State with responsibility for Labour, Employment Relations and the Social Partnership, Senator Arni Walters, made this disclosure recently, stressing that Government was committed to ensuring workers were not disadvantaged as a consequence of a known or perceived illness.

He added that the ‘Policy and Code’ would reflect the thinking of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and speak to issues including:  the Right to Work; Education and Sensitisation of Employees; Support Programmes; Confidentiality; Stigma and Discrimination; and the Ability to Work. 

According to Senator Walters, all public sector institutions would be required to implement the Policy and Code of Practice, and Government was also looking at legislation which would complement the document.

“Government has already requested the Office of the Attorney General to prepare omnibus legislation to deal with discrimination. This is another policy action intended to bring greater equity and fairness in both public and private sector administration in this country,” the Minister explained.

With regard to ‘Decent Work’, Senator Walters pointed out that his Ministry had also prepared a manual for the tourism sector, with assistance from the ILO and the Social Partners.

The manual promotes and encourages the implementation of the four pillars of Decent Work, focusing on the fundamental principles and rights at work, the provision of social protection, the creation of opportunities for employment creation and social dialogue.

Senator Walters also revealed that his Ministry was considering targeting other sectors using the manual as a template for action.

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